Studies of children who grow up in fatherless homes reveal that they often face major challenges in life. The statistics are alarming: Youths who grow up in fatherless homes are twice as likely to end up in jail as those who come from traditional two-parent families. Eighty-five percent of children who exhibit behavioral disorders and 71 percent of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes. Ninety percent of homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes—32 times the average!
Timothy was of mixed parentage. His mother Eunice “was a Jewish believer, but his father was a Greek” (Acts 16:1). While the Scriptures mention his grandmother Lois and mother Eunice, nothing much is said about his father. Some scholars believe that this is true because of his father not being a believer in Jesus. Others say that his father may have died while Timothy was young.
We’re left to conclude that his dad didn’t play a big role in his spiritual development and growth. Instead, Timothy was “taught the holy Scriptures from childhood” and was led to salvation by his mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5, 3:14-15). He later became Paul’s protégé (2 Timothy 1:2).
Growing up in a “fatherless” home, Timothy could well have been a child at risk by today’s reckoning. But a godly mother and grandmother made up for that disadvantage and ensured that he was taught God’s Word from a young age. The faithful teaching of God’s Word and the godly influence of these two women helped Timothy to grow in his faith.
Timothy also was blessed to have the great apostle Paul as his spiritual father (2 Timothy 1:2-4). And, more importantly, he knew God as his heavenly Father. That truly helped him grow from a spiritually immature boy to a man of God.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Matthew 1:1-25
Learn how God cares for the fatherless and orphans by reading the following verses: Deuteronomy 10:18, 24:19-21, 26:12-13; Psalm 68:5, 82:3, 146:9; Jeremiah 49:11; James 1:27.
What “young Timothy” can you be a parent (father, mother), grandparent, or mentor to in your family or community? Why is it vital both to mentor others and to receive mentoring ourselves?